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The Purge: Election Year

Coming Soon

There are two “patriotic” movies set for release this summer. These two movies are similar in their over-the-top ridiculousness, but are two very different genres and qualities. Independence Day: Resurgence reeks of sloppy execution, while The Purge: Election Year reeks of sloppy executions.
To recap: the first entry in this horror-thriller series introduced movie-goers to the brutal ritual of the annual Purge. Once per year, Americans are granted 12-hours amnesty to commit crimes up to and including murder. The practice found the Sandin family (Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey) fighting for their lives within a lavish and well-protected home. The second film, The Purge: Anarchy (2014) pushed the premise to new and even more terrifying heights. Anarchy ditched the claustrophobia of its predecessor and opted for mayhem and survival on the streets of Los Angeles. It starred a vengeful Frank Grillo protecting four citizens caught outside in the chaos. The Purge: Election Year is a continuation of *Sergeant Leo Barnes’ (Grillo) heroics as he is now the head of security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), a presidential hopeful vowing to end the Purge. Nasty politicking and betrayal find them running for their lives in Washington D.C., but with the help of corner-store owner Joe Dixon (played by scene-stealing Mykelti Williamson), his trusty employee Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) and the tough-as-nails Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel), they just might defeat the corrupt system engineers at their own game.
The Purge has become an evolving beast with each entry becoming even more absurd than the last. Election Year makes no apologies for exploiting this silly concept. The pro-Purge camp embrace the propaganda of the New Founding Fathers by committing heinous executions while nonbelievers fight to dismantle a system designed to eliminate impoverished citizens. It’s an exaggerated portrayal of current American politics and the power of the 1 Percent. But what makes The Purge: Election Year work for this movie fan are themes borrowed from cult-favorites The Warriors and Escape from New York. Whether it be slider shots of an apocalyptic cityscape, an abused Lincoln Memorial or the demented purgers roaming the streets of D.C., there’s a welcoming familiarity of this style of filmmaking and storytelling not embraced since John Carpenter gave us Snake Plissken. So while it doesn’t succeed as some political statement, it absolutely delivers in suspense from beginning to end.
If the current state of the American box-office is any indication, The Purge: Election Year is destined to sequel mediocrity without the help of overseas purge fans, an ironic proposition given a similar scenario in this year’s purge. But for the “patriotic” film on this summer’s ballot, The Purge: Election Year gets my vote.

The Purge: Election Year is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Chris Giroux
Chris Giroux is founder and editor-in-charge at Movie Reelist, an entertainment news and review blog serving the most fanatic moviegoers. Chris started his publication in Detroit in 2010 and has since reviewed hundreds of films and interviewed numerous talent across the country. He is an avid film festival attendee and red carpet photographer, having shot the likes of Steven Spielberg, Bill Murray, Mark Hamill, and more. Chris grew up in New Mexico, where he studied mass media writing while working in post-production and multimedia authoring. It is also where he discovered Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, resulting in an unhealthy Kurt Russell obsession.

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